Or what happens when the liver stops working
I wasn’t there when it happened.
When his detoxing liver finally collapsed
onto his stomach, flopped over his gallbladder.
His intestines had long given way, tied in knots
only a properly trained boy scout could attempt
When his lungs finally slowed to a halt, deflated
onto his diaphragm, left room between the ribcage.
His left went first, then the right, he always held his
cigarettes in the left, should have switched hands
every once in a while.
When his knees and shins finally crashed
into his calves, bones bashed on unswept hardwood floor.
His hamstrings had already stopped him from running away,
couldn’t support the habit or the weight of his constant
When his brain finally discharged his soul
into his cortex out his eyes, ears, it waivered slightly
His head abandoned by the previous owner, left a messy
mind behind but his facial expression turned tender of someone
thirty years younger
Or what I think about when I take the elevator with my neighbors
I am forced or coerced to take the elevator with my neighbors whom I have never met. We live next door to each other and sometimes I hear them cooking, our kitchens touch stove to stove. But I have never seen them. I wonder if they have ever seen me. Do they hear me cooking too? This man, he waves me into the elevator. He carries or cradles a Bible. It is Sunday. God’s day. Hangover day. I choose the corner of this small three person elevator. I smell his cologne. His wife joins us and the doors shut. I smell her hair spray. They are ready. Ready for what?
What do we mean when we say ready? I am ready or I am the best version of myself for this occasion. This is how I imagine myself or how I should be at this moment. My actions are appropriate for this moment. I am ready or prepared for what is to come. I am ready and these people are ready, but I am ready for the grocery store, ready to buy tortillas and potatoes. They are ready to listen with ears half open, ready for God.
His suit is freshly washed without stain and her scarf draped softly over shoulders. They are clean and I wonder if my unwashed curls are forming an A on my dirty jacket- embroidered there. Can he read the smudged black lines under my eyes? Can he smell Atheism on my unbrushed breath? Or does he just smell the gin salt on my skin? Perhaps he smells nothing, sees nothing.
We get out of the elevator and he smiles at me. I tell them to have a nice day and she responds, “you too dear.” We part ways. They are ready and I am still ready.
Or why my left eye is strong than the right, or more dissertation excepts.
When I was little, I used to believe that I could see air.
Tiny specks of sometimes blue and other times green
but mostly clear in front of my eyes.
I never told anyone till now-wanted to keep the secret, to be special
I squinted to see life, to see O2 mix with CO2
right before my eyes, something amazing.
I believed I could see air.
One of these days, I said,they will see what I can do.
But as years went on, I could see them less and less.
Slipped away from my vision,
my aging eyes lack precision or perhaps I just forgot to look for it anymore.
Now when I squint some twenty-years later,
I call them… sun spots.
From not listening to my mother-
I can’t help but stare at the sun from time to time.
The little blue and sometimes green
but mostly clear circles dot my retina and transmit into my skull.
My optic nerve used to lie to me all the time.
Yes, that swimming pool is an ocean
and that old broken bottle a potion
and yes, those dots are oxygen.
But now it translates… sunspots.
My optic nerve rarely ever lies to me anymore
or maybe I never ask it to.
I used to believe I could see air.
Not just a single molecule, no-
but the particles within it too.
Like that squiggly bit, a ribosome
that circle bit, a nucleus-words I’d only ever seen on charts and graphs
but I was convinced all the same that someday
I would be able to clearly see someone’s DNA.
Each nucleic acid twisted together-their genetic information.
Be able to tell the color of their eyes before looking at their face
A scientific mystery with eyes like a microscope
and when I looked at a boy, I’d be able to read his double helix
and prevent heartbreak before we even said hello.
Not that I’d have time for boys when I can see air.
No-that’s just the beginning.
I’ll spend my time at NASA
and my dad will be so proud when they send me to the moon
to stare at Mars with my special eyes.
She’ll know the answer they’ll say
and they’ll cheer when I land because I’m the girl that can see molecules.
But they’ve already sent Curiosity to Mars- have extra-terrestrial terrain cars.
And me-I’m a writer with a left eye that’s slightly stronger than then right
but not strong enough to see nuclei at night.
Maybe it’s because I don’t practice anymore.
Or how communication changes. Or how I avoid my dissertation .
From ten days to ten hours, telegraphs flow under the ocean
Context and consonants cross on copper lines through cables
While the moon pushes waves of water over hemp tied wires
From Valentia to my Heart’s Content, I send
Vowels and vows, letters and love, dots and dashes
I swim the one thousand eight hundred and fifty nautical miles
From ships to sent, messages flood the marine like magic
A triumph more glorious* we grow closer to each other
I learn to move my mouth to form circles and lines
From relayed to response, on the other side of the deep
You tap your fingers on electricity till the last letter is over
While the I wait, the world is getting smaller
*“It is a triumph more glorious, because far more useful to mankind, than was ever won by conqueror on the field of battle. May the Atlantic telegraph, under the blessing of Heaven, prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship between the kindred nations, and an instrument destined by Divine Providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty, and law throughout the world”- James Buchanan, August 16, 1858.
Or why stream of conscious is fun
In The Lonely Londoner’s by Samuel Selvon, there is a great stream of consciousness bit about summertime in London. This is my response to it. Click Summertime to hear the spoken version.
It’s June but you wouldn’t know it without a calendar to tell you the rain hasn’t let up spare for the week in May that I spent drunk in Green Park everyone keeps telling me that London summers are amazing but I’m still waiting for the rain to stop I think I’ll be waiting for centuries perhaps the sun only comes out when the queen wants it to but I will learn to breathe in water at least the trees are green in Hampstead and the bus stop is right outside my flat Lynmouth Road once Bryan and I got on the 149 to Shoreditch the windows were sweating too much water to see out the windows so I asked him to wipe his side clean so I could see the Gherkin in the distance down the high street but he told me that was people breath from too many people breathing in and out condensation gathers and runs down the windows peoples breath human oxygen converted to carbon dioxide I will learn to breathe in water but for now I wipe off the human condensation with my sweater since he won’t and watch Dalston out the window people enjoying their summers in umbrellas and rain boots they go to watch boats down at the Thames thousands of boats that already know how to gurgle and breathe underwater with ease they are jubilant these people walking the streets you can tell a true Londoner not by their accent or brand of rain boots but by looking for their gills I’m still waiting for mine to grow once I walked past James Smith & Son on New Oxford Street home of the London umbrella I couldn’t believe a shop only for umbrellas but now I understand it is never going to be summer and perhaps these people have been lying to me all along but I will learn to breathe in water to live in water to stop worrying and love the water I will get used to pulling up my sweater to wipe off people breath from bus windows once I watched a little girl draw a fish on the front window of the 205 she said he was at home in the rain and they got off at Regent’s Park to go to the zoo so young but she already knows about water her gills stronger than mine she doesn’t need an umbrella I raise my sleeve to erase the fish out of jealous but I will learn all the same until then I will learn not to buy cheap umbrellas from the Primark near Marble Arch or go there at all really too many people always breathing down your back and down your front and down your sides but they always double bag my stuff when its raining so I can’t complain even the checkout clerk swears the sun will come but I’m still waiting and I’ve forgotten how the sun looks like someone from high school that you can’t quite remember I’ve forgotten what the warmth of Texas feels like but I will learn to breathe in water yes I will learn.
Or why putting sweet potatoes in a cake is a great idea.
Because my London kitchen is lacking some of the necessities of dessert baking and because of my newly found calorie conscience, it has been far too long since I last baked anything. Yesterday, I was on a mission to change that. I dug around through some of my bookmarks and came across this gem: Cook Yourself Thin’s Apple and Cinnamon Cake.
This is where the sweet potatoes come in. If you have never heard of Cook Yourself Thin, the basic idea is to take meals that you love and transform them into healthier versions. So this lovely Apple and Cinnamon Cake, for example, uses ingredients like ground almonds and two cups of shredded sweet potato to aide in binding and sweetening while lowering the amount of sugar needed and eliminating any oil or butter. The result was fantastic! You really can’t tell that any alterations have been made here. My husband had no idea and he is quite the critic. Let’s get started:
Or a sneak peek of what I’ve been working on lately.
Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a collection titled “Whiskey & Cactus Wine: A Dedication to the West.” Most of this collection includes found poetry crafted from this book. I will skip the discussion on what I think of the guidebook because the poetry should hopefully speak for itself. Here are a few strictly found poems included in the collection.
Perhaps, the way of life and obsessions still to come
happened in conflicting information.
Many have relied on everything but history,
have not reported preconceptions, and
too often have left out all kinds suffered.
A traveler more enlightened would thank me with enthusiasm
for advice about firearms and appreciation for history.
What to Take
A vial of brandy,
A small bottle of sureness,
A flask of burden
A word of exchange,
A pinch of once rough-and-ready,
A bit of gold dust
A target for gangs,
A trunk of obvious jokes,
A supply of profits
with curiosity about
introduce you to
firsthand of army exploits
several eloquent Indian leaders
curious about the men who push.
a rambunctious buckaroo
Or Cheers to Audiozines
A quick thanks to In Stereo Press for publishing one of my performance pieces titled “Talk Static to Me.” Check the website for my piece and browse the other audio tracks cause audiozines are lovely.
Or Cheers to my First Poetry Publication
I just wanted to say thanks again to Cutaway Magazine- a literary magazine based out of Manchester- for accepting one of my poems titled “Someone Suggests We Stop for Family Portraits.” It is currently a one-off project to be published in May 2012.
Or why you should keep track of your personal belongings
I lost my journal in the Chicago Public Library.
Set down to free my hands and it lay forgotten among the books.
Level 5 near the classics
I set it down to pick up an old copy of Shakespeare but
So entranced by the words of others, I overlooked
My own sitting there on the stack.
Someone will pick it up and open it as if it’s
Supposed to be public-
They’ll flip through my entries and birthdates
Of relatives I’ve marked down so I don’t
Forget and wonder who Emily is.
They’ll wonder what it is doing shelved
Near Dickens and Dickinson,
Author unknown except to say that her
Husband’s birthday is on Feb 27 and
That she feels inadequate from time to time.
Maybe they’ll find it raw and rare,
Unedited for publication and wonder
About the messy handwriting that
Starts out nice and ends as scribbles
Only intelligible to the author.
They’ll wonder how the story ends
Or where it started for that matter.
They’ll be tempted to call Carol whose
Number is marked down in a corner
Near the top of page 7 and ask
To speak to a writer, but they won’t
Because then they would have to admit
To reading it.
They’ll leave the ticket stub from the Coheed concert
Bookmarked on the same page I left it
But wonder what it is doing on April 7
When the show was 2 years ago in September.
It won’t be returned to the lost and found
On the 3rd floor or to the nice security guard
Who helped me find the elevator
To the Winter Garden on the 9th floor.
Instead, they’ll move it from Eliot to Whitman
And Back to Dickens, unsure exactly where it belongs.